Posts Tagged ‘Hidden Gem’


Free pdf:

Mexicali! a mini-gem guide to surgery in Baja, California

The pdf has been uploaded to Google books, and several other sites.

Low-cost e-format:  I managed to work out a kindle format, but Amazon.com won’t allow independent publishers to offer our books for free (except as part of a limited trial on KDP select.)  However, I have received several emails specifically asking for the Mexicali book to be placed on Amazon.com – so I am reluctantly doing so.  Please note that this e-format version is priced at the minimum – of 99 cents with a free download trial period.  (In case you are wondering, Amazon.com collects 65% of that.)


Paperback book:  The paperback version of the Mexicali book is now available!  I had hoped to offer a color version (for fans of medical photography) but for small-run books, it was going to be 28.00 a book, which seems excessive to me.  I’ve priced it at just above the cost to produce and offer it on Amazon channels for less than 7.00.



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Back in Mexicali but just for a few days – as I pack up the apartment and get ready for my next journey – to Texas, of all places!

As I mentioned before, leaving Mexicali is hard – it’s a city, and a people who get under your skin.  I’ve lived (and traveled to) a lot of places, but this has been the most bittersweet of all.

In the meantime – I am (finally!) finishing up the last bit of editing  – with much help from friends –  for the Mexicali guide to surgical tourism book.   I hope to have it finished – and available on-line for downloads before the end of the year.

I’ll post links and directions for interested readers once it is ready.


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A round up of our recent discussions on Medical Tourism

In several previous posts, we talked about various Medical Tourism topics:
– including medical tourism in India due to recent publicity; including Superbug (New Delhi – 1 ) contamination of water sources in India, and
President Obama’s adoption of India’s medical tourism industry (and the medical tourism industry in general) as a target for his derision, rather than more justly, as a symbol of America’s failing health system.

I’ve also talked about why I see Colombia, as an ideal medical tourism destination, for several reasons; many of which I outlined in an article published on Colombia Reports.com**  and a new article on Yahoo! Associated content.

We’ve even discussed the Colombian government’s role and support of medical tourism, and medical tourists.

We’ve talked about the global effects of medical tourism, and the ethics of medical tourism

** Astute readers may notice that I have referenced Colombia Reports.com several times (links). Colombia Reports.com is the largest, in country English language newssource, and is widely relied upon by English speakers, like myself, living in Colombia.
Colombia Reports.com has published my work in the past – as part of their series of articles (by various writers) on medical tourism in Colombia so back in April, I traveled in April to interview Adriaan Alsema, the editor -in -chief.

Hope you enjoyed this retrospective review of Cartagena Surgery, and medical tourism in Colombia.

UK doctors say medical tourism to India spreading superbug

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Currently ranked #2 in medical transportation, which isn’t that impressive, since it’s only out of five..

But Hidden Gem is ranked #15 out of the top 100 for plastic surgery..

Thanks everyone, for your continued encouragement and support.

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It’s been shaping up to be a bit of a weird week – as everyone that’s been following on Bogota Surgery knows – it was a rapid change of gears from neurosurgery to thoracics this week.. (and everyone knows how much I enjoy interviewing surgeons from my home specialty). But during this week – the same name keeps cropping up in conversations – Dr. Edgard Eduardo Gutierrez, and that’s when I realized that while we’ve mentioned him from time to time on the Bogota blog – he’s never really gotten proper face time, here at home at Cartagena Surgery.

Of course, my loyal readers of Hidden Gem already know Dr. Gutierrez – since he’s profiled in my book, but let me introduce him to the rest of the world** – since it seems all of Bogota is talking about him.. (okay, to be fair – the Bogota thoracic surgery community).

** since this is long overdue **

First off, I have to say that Dr. Edgard Eduardo Gutierrez Puente has got to be one of the most easy-going, good-natured people I’ve ever met – Which explains why I ended up following him on his rounds through out the hospitals of Cartagena one sunny day.. (or how he ended up hosting some gringa nurse who spoke really bad Spanish). He’d been nice enough to review cases with me – and have me in the OR one day at Medi-help after I’d practically accosted him in the hallway.. Then as we were leaving the operating room, he turned at me with a long stream of spanish over his shoulder ending in “aqui o vamos conmigo?” I missed the whole preceeding paragraph, but caught “or go with me?”

That was it – he was stuck with me. And it was definitely out of the goodness of his heart – and no other motive because, frankly, I don’t think Dr. Gutierrez:
a.) has time to think about medical tourism, or care about being in some first-time author’s book or b.) even knew why I was there..
So there he was, driving around with me, asking him questions the entire time, in my fractured, barely comprehensible, mish-moshed Spanish. But he’d patiently answer, and then wait for me to figure out what he’d said – and then we’d start all over again.

At the time, (he was one of my first interviews), I probably took his graciousness for granted – it’s only now after meeting, and interviewing, interviewing and interviewing my way through my second book, that I realize how kind he was to that naïve little nurse, wandering around a strange city, in a foreign country, writing a book that very few people are actually interested in.

But all of this, doesn’t really matter.. What matters is all the other things; all the qualities and skills I saw during the time I followed him around Cartagena, and its’ operating rooms.

It didn’t matter if we were in the upscale Medi-help clinic or the aged, struggling Universitario de Cartagena; he was kind, gentle and empathetic with all of his patients.

There are a lot of things I could say, and have said in my book about Dr. Gutierrez, his operating style, adherence to surgical protocols and overall dedication to his profession. But to me; his kindness and compassion said it all.

Update: 20 April 2011

Here are the top search terms for the blog this week:

Top Searches

doctor edgardo gutierrez puente, cartagena  colombia  real stste, what is overstenting, colombia cartagena edgar eduardo gutierrez puente, tourist attractions in colombia

– so I am glad to see Dr. Gutierrez get some well deserved recognition for all his hard work..  The blog was also one the featured daily blogs for wordpress yesterday – congratulations, Dr. Gutierrez!

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In honor of the Latin-American Bariatric Surgery Congress, currently in progress in Cartagena – (since I couldn’t make time in my research to go) I am posting a brand new article about bariatric surgery and the severely obese. It seems American medicine is finally starting to catch up, and take notice..

It’s hard concept out there – and I still have trouble with it myself, sometimes.. In our society, it seems we are too busy blaming ourselves, and others for being overweight and attaching labels; ‘lazy’, to really see how fundamentally things need to change to improve our health as a nation.

From my perspective, down here in Bogota – it’s interesting, because I am seeing Colombians just beginning to start to struggle with obesity – as more and more imported snack foods, and fast foods replace traditional diets. Obese people are still very rare here – and after several months, I can still say I’ve not seen a single super-obese person here, but the ‘chubbies’ are starting to grow in number..

At the same time, by being in such a walkable city, and having access to (cheap!), delicious, ripe fruit every day, I’ve managed to lose over ten pounds with almost no effort.. I’ve been tracking my walking, and I walk about 6 to 10 miles a day with my various errands. But these are things that aren’t readily available – in the urban sprawl of American life.. A week’s worth of fruit for several meals for ten dollars? Not hardly, unless you gorged yourself on bananas every single day..

Surgery as a solution seems drastic to American healthcare providers, myself including.. Removing/ destroying a perfectly functioning organ.. But then – when you look at the drastic effects, and the desperate states our patients are in – Bariatric surgery really is as lifesaving as cardiac surgery for many people.. Until we change society as a whole (which may never happen), we need to help these individuals regain their health,and their lives..

Bariatric Surgery for the Severely Obese

In the meantime, everyone, stay away from soft drinks (all soft drinks, including ‘diet drinks’, juices and fruit drinks, sweet tea) and stick to water, plain tea. Coffee too – if you remember not to load it up with too many calories.. Try it for a month, and I wager you will be unable to go back to the supersurgery drinks you formerly enjoyed out cringing..

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As some of you know – I took on the coffee challenge in graduate school after a few stupid comments from classmates over my coffee drinking habit (I like about four cups a day).. So as part of a grad school assignment I reviewed the literature surrounding coffee, and the active ingredients in coffee and it’s kin (cocoa) and wrote about the health benefits of the methylxanthines; theophylline, theobromide, and caffeine.. I talked about the use of theophylline to prevent anoxic injury to the brain and to help restore spontaneous circulation in people after brady/asystolic arrest..
I also debunked some of the common myths surrounding ‘theophylline toxicity’ and it’s unwarrented and tarnished reputation.**

** (check the potassium level, everyone – and know that the effective / therapuetic range is actually 5 to 10 not 10 to 20)

Since then I hae been ardent follower of coffee drinking/ health stories..
– We now know it doesn’t precipitate atrial fibrillation – as demonstrated in several very large studies last year..

– It’s protective against diabetes and pancreatic cancer..

and now, ladies – it appears the health effects extend to a stroke benefit as well.. Now, maybe it isn’t all true – but the next time someone makes a smarmy comment about coffee harming your health – here’s some ammo to fire right back at them..

Here’s some links to the story- which was widely reported, and picked up by AP.

Coffee reduces Stroke



LA timesNow – just make sure you haven’t ruined it with 300 calories worth of fat and sugar..

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